Common Job Search Questions (and Answers)

  • Is it true that you can’t get a job without a graduate degree?

  • Where do I find a job?

  • I’m interviewing at a relaxed company/laboratory; do I still need to dress up?

  • What’s the best job to make lots of money?

  • I decided I want to teach, but I don’t have certification or education courses. Can I teach in the state of Michigan?

  • I decided I don’t want to go to medical school (get school, etc) after all. What jobs can I get with a bachelors degree in my major?

  • I’m going to delay applying to medical school (vet school, etc) for a year. Should I take a permanent job?

  • Is a temporary or short-term contract job a good idea?

  • Should I wait until I get my dream job, or just take whatever will pay the bills?

 

Is it true that you can’t get a job without a graduate degree?

Absolutely not! Sometimes it is easier to find a job with a graduate degree—but that doesn’t mean that Bachelor’s level jobs don’t exist. Think about this from an employer’s perspective of supply and demand. It’s not cost effective for companies to advertise entry-level positions. They know that there are lots of undergraduates out there that will find companies, even if they don’t advertise. Employers concentrate more effort on advertising and attracting higher-level applicants, since there are fewer of them to choose from. With a little research, and using your networking contacts, you can find those hidden jobs at the BA/BS level.  Secondly, remember the three job paths. There are many things you can do both inside and outside your major—don’t be confined by it.

Where do I find a job?

Unfortunately, there is no one single place to find a job. Although, here’s a good place to start: resources for job-hunting by major. However, don’t just look at this list and quit! Your most important resource for job hunting will be your network of contacts. You should expect a job search to last between 3 and 8 months—so start looking BEFORE you graduate!

I’m interviewing at a relaxed company/laboratory; do I still need to dress up?

Absolutely YES.

What’s the best job to make lots of money?

The best-paid professionals in America are anesthesiologists. The MSU majors with the highest starting salaries are engineering students. A more important question is: WHY do you want lots of money? What do you want to do with it? Money is a byproduct of your work and passion; it is not a career objective.

I decided I want to teach, but I don’t have certification or education courses. Can I teach in the state of Michigan?

No. However, you can complete your Michigan certification with an additional year at MSU. Some states allow alternative certification, where you can earn your certification on the job. You can find more information at the National Center for Alternative Certification.
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I decided I don’t want to go to Medical School (grad school, etc) after all. What jobs can I get with a bachelors degree in my major?

Review the “What Can I Do With A Major In” web pages to get some ideas for bachelor’s level jobs in your field. You should also review the three job paths.

I’m going to delay applying to Medical school (vet school, etc) for a year. Should I take a permanent job?

No. This is sort of like saying, “I’m going to get married in a year to someone else—would you like to date me for a while?” Companies don’t want to invest time and money in training someone who is planning to leave. You can get some great experience in an internship, or doing contract work. You’ll get more experience, learn more about alternative careers, and you won’t have to make anyone mad when you leave after a year.

Is a temporary or short-term contract job a good idea?

It’s a great idea, especially for new graduates. Many companies are now using a “temp to perm” model, where they hire workers as temps, and then move the ones they like into a permanent position. This is also a good way to build skills so that you can apply for jobs that want 1-2 years of experience.
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Should I wait until I get my dream job, or just take whatever will pay the bills?

If you can afford to wait, go ahead. However, don’t let too many months go by while you sit on the couch. Employers want to see a relatively constant work record. Even if you end up as an unskilled laborer, that will look better than 6 months of unemployment. If you end up in a job you don’t like, look for volunteer opportunities to stay connected in your field. And, of course, you can develop networking contacts that way.